What are the characteristic features of poetry during the Romantic Movement? Literary critics consider 1798, the year when Wordsworth and Coleridge published their "Lyrical Ballads," to mark the beginning of the English Romantic Movement. However, its actual beginnings date back to the poetry of Gray, Collins, Blake and Burns who are regaded as 'Transition Poets' who lived and wrote at the end of the Neo-Classical Age. Critical opinion is divided as to when the Romantic Movement actually came to an end; infact, some critics consider the Victorian age to be a continuation of the Romantic Age and that the English Romantic Age extended till the beginning of the Modern Age in the twentieth century. The characteristic features of English Romantic poetry are: 1. Love and worship of Nature and dislike for the urban life. 2. Love for the Medieval Age.
3. Love for the supernatural and the mystical.
4. Poetry came to be regarded as the spontaneous expression of the poet's own subjective feelings and did not conform to the poetic conventions of classical doctrines. 5.Completely abandoned the 'Heroic Couplet' and substituted it with simpler verse forms like the ballads which belonged to the English rural Folk. In fact the 'Ballad Revival' is said to have sparked off the English Romantic Movememnt. 6. The 'poetic diction' of the Neo-Classical Age was completely done away with and the language of the ordinary people became the language of Romantic poetry. 7. The subjects of Romantic poetry were often ordinary people:"The Idiot Boy." The Romantic movement began somewhere near the end of the 18th century in Western Europe and lasted well into the first half of the 19th century. In part, the movement was a rebellion in response to the Enlightenment of the century prior, which focused on the more scientific and rational thought. Characteristics of Romantic literature emphasize passion, emotion, and nature. Romantic poetry was often written in common everyday language for all to relate, not just the upper class. Nature was a focus of many famous poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge. Wordsworth was known as the "father of English Romanticism." Any of his works can support the focus of nature. Robert Burns uses his Scottish dialect to support the "common everyday language" of the era. William Blake supports the emphasis of emotion in his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. The Romantics whose entry into the world of British Literature was heralded by the publication of the Lyrical Ballads in 1798 were poets who had firm faith in the power of imagination in poetic expression.To them a poem is the expression in words of what the best and brightest mind thinks and feels at a moment of inspired imagination the perfect example of which is Kubla khan.They were dissatisfied with the present and day to day reality and saught escape on the 'viewless wings of poesy',into the world of Nature,Art,Medievalism or exotic land.They loved to wrap with mystery even the commonest sight and sound of Nature,in that way adding strangeness to beauty.They loved to evoke in themselves a sense of wonder at the sight of sunrise or sunset,or a forest path that led into an unknown region. They preferred passion,emotion and simplicity of expression to reason and well learned craft.They were emotional and not critical,so there is no remarkable satire in the oevre of English romantic poetry.The romantic poets were also splendid egoists who chose for their subject of poetry,themselves.They were always looking inwards.they often went to the verge of self pity,as when shelley cries "I fall upon the thorns of life,I bleed"So love and liberty was a cause of celebration for them.So Shelley says "I love Love though he has wings and like breath can flee." To sum up imagination,passion,love of Nature,and simplicity of expression can be pinpointed as the characteristic of Romantic Poetry.Lyric and not satire was their forte.A sense of mystery surrounding simple objects in their poetry labels their time as a Rennaisance of wonder.We can quote a few lines of Shelley as an example of something that is quintessencially romantic-"The desire of the moth for the star/Of the night for the morrow/The devotion to something afar/From the sphere of our sorrow" Romanticism in poetry arose in response to the enlightenment ideals that prevailed in the 18th century. This form of poetry emphasizes on emotions rather than reason. William Wordsworth strengthened the movement of romanticism in poetry to a great extent. Ironically, his verses incorporated a language that was more colloquial than poetic. The Romantic Movement began somewhere around the end of the 18th century, and instantly struck a chord with poets and readers across the globe. Growing interest in folklore was one of the early signs of romantic poetry becoming popular. Some of the important romantic poetry characteristics are passionate display of emotion, interest in the supernatural, idealism, and affinity towards nature.
Being, Per say, a literary genre, romantic poetry 's features are the same as established by critics weither the work was written in ealy 18th or later and even today. They may be some variations i.e form and structure but overall, as described by baudelaire "Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling." Characteristics of Romantic Poetry
There are many angles and point-of-views from which one can study romantic poetry. The most of important characteristic of this form of poetry is imagination. The different characteristics of romantic poetry are elaborated on in the article below.
In the words of William Wordsworth, 'poetry is the first and last of all knowledge'. The phenomenon of imagination is the essence or core of romantic poetry. According to romantic poets, it is possible to attain a transcendental experience by means of imagination. It takes us near to the spiritual truth.
When it comes to romantic poetry, reason and logic take a backseat. The one thing which rules the world of romanticism is emotion. Romantic poetry is one of the best means to let loose one's emotions through words. The overflow of emotions depicted through romantic poetry transcends the boundaries of logical reasoning. Spontaneity in romantic poetry arises from an emotional outflow, and sometimes pain is the inspiration.
A romantic poet can let loose his/her imagination in the process of interpreting natural phenomena. It is said that romantic poetry associated with nature is a kind of a meditative process. The rationalists tend to view or associate nature with some kind of machine. A romanticist's perception of nature is that of an organic phenomenon. Nature is also viewed as a setting or place which offers respite from the artificial world that we inhabit.
The pastoral life, culture and traditions are mentioned on a frequent basis in romantic poetry. In most cases, the relaxed and slow-paced pastoral life of shepherds is depicted in these poems. Romantic poetry employs this feature in order to present before readers the complexities of life in a simple manner. Contrasting features of country and urban life can also be depicted by the portrayal of pastoral life.
It is a way of expressing so much in so little. The use of symbolism in literature allows to infer / derive different meanings from a single expression. Symbolism rouses the curiosity of readers and also adds a kind of enigma to the expressions or thoughts of the poet. Representing a particular thing allegorically, lies at the core of symbolism. Repetitive presentation of an object or character is one of the ways in which symbolism is depicted in poetry.
It is one of the important romantic poetry characteristics. Representation of a hero, a person with exceptional genius, is of common occurrence in romantic poetry. Heroes are depicted as personalities which exhibit boldness. This quality boldness is in contrast with that of restraint depicted in ancient classics.
The use of romanticism in literature appeals to our dreamy inner-self. It helps us transcend the boundaries that are set by rational thinking. It helps us understand the wholesome truth instead of just making conclusions on what we see or derive by logical reasoning. There are so many things in this world beyond our understanding. We can say that the urge to known the unknown is expressed in the form of romantic poetry.